‘Nobody should live like this’ - Senior living in squalor

January 15, 2021
Omroy Harrison, a resident of Springfield, Guys Hill, St Catherine.
John Duglas says he has been the primary caregiver for Omroy Harrison.

When one thinks of home, it should automatically bring a sense of peace, relaxation and somewhere you feel cared for. However, home for 91-year-old Omroy Harrison is anything but. Wasp nests fill his dwelling. A pungent odour constantly permeates the air. Cold winds swoop in through his curtain-less windows, and he has no electricity, leaving him in pitch darkness when night falls.

Harrison, a resident of Springfield, Guys Hill, St Catherine, has been ailing for some time, according to his neighbour, John Duglas, who was brought to tears as he talked about the elderly man’s woes.

“It hurt me heart to know that people just neglect an old man like this and don’t try to help. Me nuh like it man, and he was a good man, a good Samaritan. Him nuh suppose to a suffer like this and live worse than a dog,” said Duglas as tears streamed down his cheeks.

“This was a man who boiled sugar and worked very hard on his farm, even in his old days him sit down and plant him thing them, and now he is back to the stage of a child and needs assistance.”

Harrison doesn’t have any children, but Duglas said his relatives have also neglected him. He said that it is only he and a few other neighbours who try to help the bedridden elder.

“Me bathe him, shave him, cut him yard and try to make sure things are going good. Is just us neighbours,” he told THE WEEKEND STAR. “We do what we can, make sure him get little food to eat and such but the living convenience is not right, it need to be more sanitary. His siblings are in Kingston and since he got sick we call the brother and tell him and him don’t come.”

Duglas said that he takes particular interest in Harrison’s well-being because based on his memory, he cared for him as a youngster.

“I can remember when I was about three years old and my old man carry me go bush, and he was there working with my dad at the time, and I remember him come to me and say ‘young boy you want to go home?’ and put me on his back and put a basket of yam on his head, and walk about five miles with me go home and put me on the verandah,” he said. “I never forget that so that is why I really put in the effort to do all that I can.”

Duglas, 71, is praying that Harrison will get some form of assistance for his living conditions to improve.

“He has no light, the bathroom needs to be fixed because it is not sanitary, plus he needs food and clothes. That’s all I really want to see right now for this man, and from there, I will do the rest. I don’t have no problem,” he said.

Anyone wishing to assist may contact John Douglas at 876-351-9250 or Nareen Barracks at 876-371-6981.

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